Council bans smoking at arena

Published 9:33 am Tuesday, February 25, 2014

One councilor says government imposes its will; others laud the decision

Smoking of any kind is now prohibited on the City Arena campus after a vote Monday by the Albert Lea City Council.

The councilors voted 6-1 in favor of the ban, with 1st Ward Councilor John Schulte V dissenting.

Schulte said he thought putting in a designated smoking area would resolve the public health concern of smoke at the main entrance and noted he thinks often the government imposes its will on the people.

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At a prior meeting he said the ban takes away a smoker’s right to choose.

The ordinance applies to smoking, chewing or ingesting tobacco, along with using electronic cigarettes. Smoking is already banned inside the building. Any person violating the ordinance is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

The Monday vote was the second reading for the ordinance; it passed its first reading on Feb. 10.

The ban is in line with rules at other athletic events and will continue with a precedent already set in the community by Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea, Albert Lea Area Schools, Riverland Community College and several workplaces with tobacco-free campuses. City Arena hosts youth, high school and college hockey contests, in addition to figure skating shows, public skate times and spring indoor youth soccer.

The council voted a little more than a year ago to prohibit smoking and use of tobacco products outside City Hall and in the parking lots adjacent to the building.

Members of the Albert Lea Hockey Association, National Vitality Center and the Statewide Health Improvement Program have voiced their support.


What else?

Look to the Tribune Wednesday for the council’s decision on whether to support an extension of the city’s local-option sales tax.